Letter: Williams death a great loss, like so many others

By on August 14, 2014

The recent death of actor/comedian Robin Williams by a suspected suicide was probably a shock for most of us. Often seen as a hyper, “always on” personality, he apparently was haunted by the mental illness known as severe depression.

In Illinois, almost 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from the biological disease of mental illness. Fully two-thirds of people who are mentally ill do not even seek treatment, mostly due to the stigma that the disease carries with it.

We may never know what led to Williams’ decision to end his life, or if he sought help, or was afraid of what people would think. All we can do now is to try and prevent this unnecessary loss on a local level. Each of us can listen—really listen—when a friend tells us he or she is having a really bad day. We can tell them it is OK to get help when you need it, just like any other medical condition, like diabetes or cancer.

We can assist them by getting them to seek the help they need from professionals in the field.

Locally, we are blessed to have two expert resources. Suicide Prevention Services (SPS) specializes in the issues involved in suicide. They can be reached at (630) 482-9696. The Association for Individual Development (AID) operates the Crisis Line of the Fox Valley with trained staff and volunteers. Their number is (630) 966-9393.

Every loss by suicide is a preventable tragedy. Please do your share to stop the next one.

Jerry Murphy
Executive Director, The INC Board, NFP